Stop Crying Wolf

by Starla J. King on June 5, 2015

You’ve likely heard Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” which goes something like this:

A little boy is tending sheep, and gets bored, so he shouts at the top of his lungs, “WOLF! WOLF!!” Much to his delight, the concerned villagers race up the mountain to help protect him and the sheep from the wolf.  But of course there is no wolf, just the little boy’s practical joke and instantly angry villagers.

Well, the boy thinks this is great fun, so he soon cries “WOLF! WOLF!!” again, and the scenario repeats: the villagers arrive, find no wolf, stomp back down the hill, and the little boy laughs and laughs at his cleverness.

Then a real wolf arrives.  Having been fooled twice, the villagers ignore the boy’s desperate cries of “WOLF! WOLF!!!!” and, depending on which version of the fable you read, the sheep all run away or the wolf attacks and scatters lifeless sheep bodies all around the mountain.

As I flit around the internet, I feel as though I’m being bombarded by a gazillion voices “crying wolf.”  Apparently, if I don’t watch that video, I’ll miss out on the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.  If I don’t buy that product immediately, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. I’ll sob by the end of that video, die with disbelief when I see what happens in that video, and my mind will be blow — BLOWN!!! — when I see the photo of that dude’s latest stunt.

I know, I know, it’s a marketing ploy tactic to get us to pay attention (and I hate to admit how many times I’ve been sucked into clicking a link I really didn’t care about), but I hope we — as creatives, writers, truth-tellers — can choose a different way.

Give us meaning, rather than exaggerated shock and awe.

Draw us in by your story, not “click bait” phrases shouting out false emotion.

Quietly offer us your different viewpoints and experiences, instead of just trying to yell louder than the others who are all saying that same thing.

Be, as Seth Godin says, “the unexpected.” How?  “Cross out every sentence that could have been written by someone else, every box check, every predictable reference. Now, insert yourself. Your truth and your version of what happens next.”

In other words, please stop crying wolf.  Your truth is enough.

gitter_soft_gray2

 

 

Facebook Twitter Email

{ 0 comments }

Shine when you can

May 8, 2015

I hadn’t been in touch with her — at all — for about 25 years, yet ever since I found out (3 days ago) that my long-ago friend died, she’s been on my mind. An eating disorder stole her away, unbeknownst to me.  The only version of her I knew was a young, vibrant, gentle, […]

Read the full article →

What if it’s just an excuse?

March 6, 2015

What if it’s just an excuse, this writing thing? What if it’s just an excuse to live softly, senses-first, engaged foremost in the itty-est bitty-est details of the space around — and within — me? What if what I really want is the freedom to live against the grain, and “I’m a writer” is more about […]

Read the full article →

Quiet

February 6, 2015

“I need to be silent for a while, worlds are forming in my heart.” ~ Meister Eckhart It’s quiet season in me, somewhere between winter and spring. “There is no fix and no problem, no hurry and no wait.  You are sitting upside up in the echoless calm of a vast, clear ocean, no wind […]

Read the full article →

When the font is wrong

January 16, 2015

I was planning to write a deep piece in response to Seth Godin’s brilliant-as-usual blog post today called “You are what you share.” But then I saw that WordPress changed the default font of writing mode, and all I can think is “that’s the wrong font.” I can’t write when the font is wrong. Or […]

Read the full article →

Take it or leave it, as a new year dawns

December 30, 2014

I find the threshold of a new calendar year to be a delicious time of reflection and intention-setting. We can stumble sleepily over that threshold into the next year and carry on with the same burdens and stale dreams, or we can step wide awake into the new year carrying only that which we choose. […]

Read the full article →

What to give your writer: 8 ideas from $0 to $Gazillion

December 16, 2014

Each year at the beginning of December, my wife and I sit side-by-side on the living room couch and type out our Christmas wish lists, chuckling at our own witty descriptions (her list title this year is “Mrs. Sandra A. Manne’s Christmas List,” in honor of our June legal wedding) and impossible requests (I’m still waiting for […]

Read the full article →